A private legal practitioner, Benjamin Tachie Antiedu, is calling on the President Akufo-Addo government to invest in the local production of sanitary pads to make them accessible and affordable to all Ghanaian women regardless of their geographical location.
Menstrual materials seem exorbitant in Ghana due to the 20 percent tax on its importation.
The 20 percent levy exists because sanitary pads are categorised as luxury products per the Ghana Revenue Authority guidelines.
The tax which has apparently influenced the cost of sanitary pads has made ladies in rural Ghana who can’t afford it resort to the usage of unhygienic materials when menstruating.
In a solidarity message on the commemoration of the 2021 Menstrual Hygiene Management Day on Friday, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Sarah Adwoa Safo, pledged to take necessary steps to address the tax on imported sanitary items.
“The needs of young girls are of utmost concern to me as a Minister and reducing the stigma around menstrual hygiene management is one that I take very seriously and that is why upon my assumption to office I have written to the Ministry of Finance for a direct follow up on the removal of the luxury tax on the import of sanitary items,” she stated.
“Given the challenges that women and girls face, it is important to promote Menstrual Hygiene Management towards safeguarding the dignity and integrity of women and girls to positively contribute to improved school performance,” Adwoa Safo added.
But commenting on the minister’s address on Metro TV’s Inside Pages on Saturday, May 29, 2021, Lawyer Antiedu although lauded the decision of Madam Adwoa Safo, suggested to the government that locally producing the menstrual materials would be a prudent decision to take.
He urged the governing New Patriotic Party (NPP) headed by President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo to fund individuals to produce the pads and promote menstrual hygiene among Ghanaian women.
“You can’t think about women/girls as if everybody; the women and girls are those that we see in urban areas. People are really suffering. We should not even be thinking more about the removal [of sanitary pad tax] alone. I’m waiting for the government to empower to produce it locally even at half price. Subsidize it and let’s say that at least for this the constitution talks about protection for the girl child.”
He continued “This we are talking about quality education this is a critical component of it. People cannot concentrate because they don’t have the particular wear that will protect them and give them the sanctity of mind to focus, so, it is a real issue and the tax must be properly placed.”
Lawyer Antiedu wondered the rationale behind tagging sanitary pads as a luxury product since, according to him, the menstrual material isn’t.
“It is not everything that you tax. Talking about the luxury tax, what’s luxury about pads?” he questioned.
By: Bernard Ralph Adams | Metrotvonline.com | Ghana